Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Save Money: Appeal Your Property Tax Bill

Homes_in_MayfieldImage via Wikipedia
I just recently received my property tax bill in the mail. I was hoping it had gone down, no luck it went up. Examining the statement revealed my assessed value had gone down. Why did it go up then? The answer was the millage had increased. With property values dropping, so does tax revenue. To compensate they raise the tax rate, keeping the flow of revenue the same.

What do you do if you disagree with the tax assessors opinion on your homes accessed value? You believe your home has a value lower than the accessed value. Most people think they are just stuck with the assessment. But you are not, you have recourse in appealing the assessment.

There are companies that will do the work to fight for your reassessment.  They charge a fee of 10% of the amount they save for you. But it is possible to do this yourself. I have done it both ways and it is possible to do it your self and succeed. 
But before you proceed get the pertinent facts.

1.Check to see if the description of your property on your bill is correct. The legal description must be accurate or you could be paying someone else's bill. The square footage, incorrect number of bedrooms or bathrooms.
2. Find out what compatible homes in your area have sold for recently. This will determine a market value for your home. You should get at least 3, more would be better. Remember you are trying to backup your opinion with facts. The tax assessor will only act favorably if you have proof.
3. Check the assessments of your neighbors homes and see if their property values are more accurate than yours. This will give you more evidence to prove your that your assessment is wrong.
4. If your home has any problems like easement, zoning, heavy traffic, nearby highways, railroads or industry it does impact on the value of your home; the homes age, condition and defects do impact on the value.
5. Remember the price you paid for your home is not necessarily the assessed value. You could of purchased the home at the top of the market artificially inflating the price.
6. Also check to see if your county has a yearly cap on the percentage that the tax can go up within one year.

After getting all the necessary information proceed to your tax assessors office and fill out the necessary documents and present the necessary backup documents. The assessors office will process your claim. You may get turned down the first time but you can appeal. If you think your assessment is wrong keep at it.  
Remember to keep in mind that your goal to reduce your taxes could backfire, resulting in your taxes going up. The taxing authority may determine that your bill is to low and adjust it up. Personal experience has proved this correct.


  1. Good points. I'd like to add my two cents if I may.

    The assessors office will try and hit you annually for higher taxes unless you say something. Check with your assessment office - ask if you can send a certified letter to your city or township board - they have to reply to it...

    I done this for the past few years and have had success..

  2. Tim, that's a good tip. Thanks for the input. These taxes at least your able to fight, to lower an win.

  3. I've appealed a couple of times. Each time a couple of hundred bucks has been knocked off of the bill.

  4. It great you can appeal an incorrect accessment. Now if they only did that with my taxes.


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